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Transport infrastructure projects must be well prepared, with a clear socio-economic return

In order for transport infrastructure projects to be successful in the future, a number of improvements need to occur, according to the partners taking part in the European Parliament’s long-term investment intergroup conference.

In an exchange of views at the conference, which took place yesterday and focussed on the transport infrastructure pipeline in Europe, the partners agreed that project preparation must be improved, and that the visibility of the projects should be increased via project portals.

The discussion revealed where existing project preparation practices may be improved, in tune with the emphasis that the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and multi-lateral development banks placed on this topic during their annual meetings in Washington D.C. last week.

Investment portals should afford a greater visibility of infrastructure projects and the investment environment should benefit from more transparent rules. Available resources should be deployed prioritising infrastructure developments that create jobs and growth.

Dominique Riquet, president of the Intergroup, said: “A good transport project should: be useful from the infrastructure point of view, provide a quality service, fundable by all the parties, generate fair revenues and improve competitiveness of the concerned area.”

Olav Jones, deputy director general of Insurance Europe, said: “As the largest institutional investors, Europe’s insurers welcome the significant political focus placed over the past two years on infrastructure investment. In particular, the industry welcomed initiatives to increase the supply of suitable infrastructure assets and supported work by policymakers to address regulatory barriers to infrastructure investment, such as its treatment under Solvency II. Insurance Europe hopes that these policy efforts will continue in a positive direction for the mutual benefit of all stakeholders.”

Eugene Zhuchenko, executive director of the Long Term Infrastructure Investors Association, said: “Private investors are looking for a deeper pipeline of infrastructure projects in Europe. We welcome contributions from today’s dialogue to setting better project definition standards, building sponsor’s capacity to develop new projects and implementing frameworks that crowd in more of the private capital.”

Marie-Laure Mazaud, executive director in charge of transportation sector & development at Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC), pointed out that “the recent transposition of the new EU directives on public procurement and concessions in the French regulation constitutes a particularly rich and complete toolbox allowing the local authorities to fund their investment projects in optimal conditions, including PPPs. This framework offers all the guarantees and ingredients necessary to implement win-win projects for both the public and the private sectors, while financial resources have never been more abundant and attractive. CDC will support this trend and mobilize its engineering expertise to structure and finance such projects, including through the recourse of blended financing scheme experienced for the Calais port with the CEF and the PBCE”.

Jean-Louis Marchand, FIEC President, concluded: “The Investment Plan for Europe needs to reach the regions if we want it to be successful. For this purpose, the visibility of infrastructure projects at the regional scale should be strengthened. The creation of portals of regional projects, that could be part of the European investment project portal, can be a response to these needs.”

Published 13 October 2016